A saikei is a miniature landscape in a tray, consisting of living plants, with rocks and sometimes water. Bonsai-like trees are incorporated in the display - though they are usually less mature than true bonsai - as well as ground cover and other types of plants.
Kawamoto Toshio, who invented the art form in the 1950s, set out various 'rules' that saikei should conform to, but being a new artform, they're not as rigid as with bonsai. Some designers contend that the landscapes should never include man-made elements such as human/animal figures, buildings, etc., but most of the photos I've seen include these.
Saikei is seen as a good introduction or 'easier' alternative to bonsai, as a pleasing display can be achieved almost immediately. As a more naturalistic effect is desired, the fine pruning and shaping required of bonsai isn't necessary. Saikei are also very versatile: as the plants grow, the display can be taken apart and re-designed. Potential bonsai can be grown in a saikei display until mature enough to be potted separately.
[For more information, see the Wikipedia.]
Now on to my first creation (and yet another photospammy post, I just can't seem to help myself lately) -
I had these three rocks that I'd found when we were inspecting my best friend's currently-being-built house a couple of months ago:
I didn't have time to do anything with my purchases on the day, what with preparing the party foods and all, so I left it til the next day. Can I just mention how it poured rain on New Year's Day here? It's meant to be the middle of summer, for pete's sake! I remember past New Year's Days when it's been so swelteringly hot we dared not leave the house! This summer has been so cool and wet so far, it's very unusual.
Anyway, back to the saikei. Here are the
Here's the pot:
One of the many fun parts is cutting the mesh to size and attaching it to the pot with wire loops:
(The sky had become so dark now that the flash started going off!)
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot! Happy New Year!